How Many Types of Cactus Are There?
The Best Ones You Can Get!

Cacti are brilliant plants that can thrive without using too much water. Read ahead to learn about the different types of cacti!

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Jimena Bolívar

April 19, 2021


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Introduction

Whenever you imagine a desert, you probably picture cacti plants scattered in the land as well. Since these undemanding plants are succulents, they do not bother you with their demands! They thrive even if you fail to give them a lot of care. However, every cactus type is different, so you should know about the one you have!

There are more than 2000 cacti species that range over 139 genera. A few popular types of indoor cacti varieties include Angel Wings Cactus, Barrel Cactus and Star Cactus. Popular outdoor varieties include Thanksgiving Cactus, Mexican Fencepost Cactus and Prickly Pear Cactus.

How Many Types of Cacti Are There?

There are more than 2000 reported cacti species which belong to about 139 genera. The most popular ones include the Angel Wings Cactus, Barrel Cactus, Star Cactus, Prickly Pear Cactus and the Mexican Fencepost Cactus!

Popular Indoor Cacti varieties include Angel Wing Cactus, Barrel Cactus and Star Cactus!

Here is a list of popular indoor cacti species:

Name of Indoor Cactus Scientific Name
Angel Wings Cactus Opuntia albispina
African Milk Tree Euphorbia trigona
Christmas Cactus Schlumbergera bridgesii
Old Lady Cactus Mammillaria Hahniana
Moon Cactus Gymnocalycium mihanovichii
Barrel Cactus Ferocactus cylindraceus
Dwarf Chin Cactus Gymnocalycium baldianum
Star Cactus Astrophytum ornatum
Bishop’s Cap Astrophytum myriostigma
Rat Tail Cactus Aporocactus Flagelliformis

1. Angel Wings Cactus

The Angel Wing Cactus can be a refreshing addition to your home with its elegantly shaped clusters!

An Image of Angel Wings Cactus

  • Scientific name: Opuntia albispina
  • Native to: Mexico
  • Family: Cactaceae
  • Genus: Opuntia
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Soil pH: 6.0 to 7.5
  • Hardiness: USDA Zone 8b to 11b

The Angel Wing Cactus has other common names too, like Bunny Ear Cactus. The eccentric plant will never bother you by being fussy but will instead charm others effortlessly! This uncomplicated plant has thick pads which are laced with short bristles that resemble bunny ears. Apart from that, it will surprise you with charming yellow flowers every year.

This plant, like other desert lovers, enjoys dryness and doesn’t need too much watering. It has become a popular choice as an indoor cactus because it doesn’t grow too tall and looks elegant. Don’t be careless with it, as the prickles on it can harm you.

I have significant experience purchasing succulents, and I wholeheartedly recommend you get one from this link:

Angel Wing Cactus Opuntia Microdasys 2 Inch Pot

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2. African Milk Tree

The African Milk Tree or the cathedral plant is a delight to grow indoors since it is easy to handle!

An Image of African Milk Tree

  • Scientific name: Euphorbia trigona
  • Native to: Central Africa
  • Family: Euphorbiaceae
  • Genus: Euphorbia
  • Plant Type: Perennial shrub
  • Soil pH: 6.1 to 7.8
  • Hardiness: USDA Zone 9b to 11

The African Milk Tree is a beautiful cactus that is popular because of its easy growth and propagation. When it matures, it can reach to heights of up to 6 to 8 feet. It will amaze you with its vigorous growth and will never disappoint you as a decorative indoor plant!

It is known as the African Milk Tree because its leaves will emit a white sap that is toxic in nature. If you have pets, be conscious of the placement of this plant. They require minimal care but are incredibly satisfying to grow. All in all, this thorny succulent is a fantastic addition to your collection of plants!

I got this spectacular plant here and have not regretted trusting the seller. Get one for yourself if you’re interested too!

4 Inch Plant African Milk Tree

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3. Christmas Cactus

The Christmas Cactus is an extremely popular cactus that you can place within your home confidently!

An Image of Christmas Cactus

  • Scientific name: Schlumbergera bridgesii
  • Native to: Brazil
  • Family: Cactaceae
  • Genus: Schlumbergera
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Soil pH: 6.0 to 8.0
  • Hardiness: USDA Zone 10 to 12

The Christmas Cactus is a graceful and aesthetically pleasing houseplant that you will never regret owning! They generously bloom and produce delicate fuchsia and white symmetrical flowers. It boasts dark green stems where the flowers will erupt. At times, hybrids of this plant can even have red, purple and yellow flowers. Isn’t that fascinating?

This alluring plant that is named after a holiday will never cease to amaze you with its beauty. If you’re concerned about the toxicity of the cactus, be relieved. After all, the plant is not a threat. One thing is for sure, this houseplant is a beautiful succulent that can win hearts.

If you’re interested in getting a Christmas Cactus from a reliable place, look no more!

Pink Christmas Cactus Plant 4 Inch Pot

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4. Old Lady Cactus

The Old Lady Cactus is a prickly houseplant that people adore because of its adorable pink flowers!

An Image of old lady cactus

  • Scientific name: Mammillaria hahniana
  • Native to: Central Mexico
  • Family: Cactaceae
  • Genus: Mammillaria
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Soil pH: 6.1 to 7.8
  • Hardiness: USDA Zone 9a to 11

The Old Lady Cactus is a magnificent cactus that you will absolutely love. It has a thick stem covered with white spines that appear woolly which is adorned with the most delicate divine flowers! While it is named Old Lady because of the apparent white hair, you will find it to be a refreshing plant to house indoors.

This plant likes company and tends to grow in groups. Once the blooming season hits, you can expect it to be crowned with flowers. This gorgeous cactus is so enchanting that it makes a perfect addition to the home décor! It usually grows up to a height of 4 inches and takes years to grow taller, making it even more appropriate as a houseplant.

You can get old lady cactus seeds from here. Don’t worry about the quality, as I can attest to it!

Ecowus Mammillaria hahniana Old Lady Cactus Seed -20 Seeds

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5. Moon Cactus

The Moon Cactus is an eccentric and vibrant hybrid cactus that appeals to people by being unique!

An Image of moon cactus

  • Scientific name: Gymnocalycium mihanovichii
  • Native to: South America
  • Family: Cactaceae
  • Genus: Gymnocalycium
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Soil pH: 5.1 to 6.0
  • Hardiness: USDA Zone 9b to 11

The Moon Cactus is a mutant cactus that is best described as a luscious yet eccentric cactus. Since plants need chlorophyll to survive, it is a little confusing to see the colourful head of this succulent. In reality, it is a hybrid plant that is grafted on to a rootstock. Without the green stem, this plant can’t exist.

Whatever the case, the moon cactus has made a place for itself in the plant world. To propagate it, you will have to remove offsets and place them on fresher rootstocks. The vibrant colours and arresting looks of this dreamy cactus make it adored by everyone!

If you’re enchanted by the yellow grafted moon cactus like we are, get it from here:

Grafted Moon Cactus 2.5 Inch Pot

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6. Barrel Cactus

The Barrel Cactus is a classic houseplant that blooms in Spring with gorgeous flowers that appear maroon on the outside and yellow on the inside!

An Image of barrel cactus

  • Scientific name: Ferocactus cylindraceus
  • Named by: George Engelmann
  • Native to: Southwestern U.S. and Mexico
  • Family: Cactaceae
  • Genus: Ferocactus
  • Plant Type: Perrenial
  • Soil pH: 6.1 to 7.8
  • Hardiness: USDA 9a to 11

The barrel cactus is one of the most classic cactus species out there. When it blooms, you can expect to see beautiful orange to red flowers on the top of the cactus. It has a thick barrel-shaped stem with long spines erupting. Please don’t be foolish enough to touch this thorny houseplant, as you will instantly regret it.

Since the plant is a slow grower, you won’t have to worry about it outgrowing any pot. At most, it grows about 2.5 meters in height. When the cactus ages, the spines will take on a more greyish colour. You can rely on the barrel cactus as a houseplant for sure!

You can get yourself a barrel cactus from this trusted seller. I have never regretted placing my trust in it:

Golden Barrel Cactus 4 inch pot

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7. Dwarf Chin Cactus

The Dwarf Chin Cactus is a bulb-shaped cactus that showcases multiple smaller cacti, many of which will have beautiful flowers! 

An Image of dwarf chin cactus

  • Scientific name: Gymnocalycium baldianum
  • Native to: Argentina
  • Family: Cactaceae
  • Genus: Gymnocalycium
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Soil pH: 6.1 to 7.8
  • Hardiness: USDA Zone 8b to 11

The Dwarf Chin Cactus has the most adorable flowers that resemble a lotus. The blooms can have any colour between reddish-purple, pinkish purple, and pink! Expect it to bloom in Spring. The cactus is one of the more elegant ones as it has sparsely placed spikes that make it look even more appealing.

This plant like other cacti is resilient and will easily tolerate neglect. It is a stunning selection that will never let you down especially if you’re new to plants. You will rate this plant highly because of how gorgeous it is.

I got the dwarf chin cactus here and believe you can easily get one here too:

Dwarf Chin Cactus 4 Inch Pot

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8. Star Cactus

The Star Cactus is a round cactus which can grow up to a height of 2 inches it has beautiful yellow blooms with tints of orange and red!

An Image of star cactus

  • Scientific name: Astrophytum ornatum
  • Native to: Mexico
  • Family: Cactaceae
  • Genus: Astrophytum
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Soil pH: 7.5 to 8.5
  • Hardiness: USDA Zone 9b to 10

The Star Cactus appears like a star from the top, giving this classic round houseplant its name. It is perfect to raise indoors since it doesn’t grow too tall and blooms at the end of Spring. It has lovely flowers which are usually red but can have orange and red bases. Visually the structure of this plant is appealing.

The stem is globular and can have ridges laced with areoles giving it a white hairy texture. The spineless cactus is known for being petite and hence will adjust indoors quite well. Don’t hesitate in getting this gorgeous cactus!

9. Bishop’s Cap

The Bishop's Cap is a spineless globe-shaped houseplant that feature white scales and flecks!

An Image of bishop cap cactus

  • Scientific name: Astrophytum myriostigma
  • Native to: Mexico
  • Family: Cactaceae
  • Genus: Astrophytum
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Soil pH: 6.1 to 7.8
  • Hardiness: USDA Zone 9a to 11

The Bishop’s Cap Cactus belongs to the same - Genus as the Star Cactus called Astrophytum. It has a similar shape to a spineless globular stem. Whenever this houseplant blooms, it produces white flowers which resemble daisies. It is an absolute delight to have this beautiful plant.

The plant is known as a bishop’s cap cactus because when it grows, you can see white hairy scales appear on it. These scales resemble the headdress worn by bishops which is why it has such an odd name. Usually, the cactus has five ribs that form the points of the star.

I can guide you to a fantastic place to purchase the Bishop Cap Cactus:

Bishop Cap Cactus Astrophytum Myriostigma (4 Inch Clay Pot)

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10. Rat Tail Cactus

The Rat Tail Cactus is a unique, striking succulent that has stunning reddish violet blooms in Spring!

An Image of rat tail cactus

  • Scientific name: Aporocactus flagelliformis
  • Native to: Mexico and Central America
  • Family: Cactaceae
  • Genus: Aporocactus
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Soil pH: 7.5 to 8.5
  • Hardiness: USDA Zone 10a to 11

The Rattail Cactus is one of the best cactus species out there, with the most luscious flowers. The plant is known for its crimson-violet flowers, which are showy. If you want to keep a cactus within your home to enhance the décor, this is a perfect species to own!

It performs pretty well within pots and will thrive even if you don’t give it a lot of attention. It doesn’t grow too tall and will be laced with flowers making it an exciting choice as an indoor plant. You can quickly grow it in a container or a hanging basket as well!

You can purchase the rat tail cactus online here:

Rare Rattail Cactus 4 Inch Hanging Basket Pot

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Popular Outdoor Cacti varieties include Thanksgiving Cactus, Prickly Pear Cactus and Mexican Fencepost Cactus!

Here is a list of popular outdoor cacti species:

Name of Outdoor Cactus Scientific Name
Thanksgiving Cactus Schlumbergera truncate
Prickly Pear Cactus Opuntia ficus-indica
Mexican Fence Post Cactus Lophocereus marginatus
Beavertail Cactus Opuntia basilaris
Orchid Cactus Disocactus ackermannii
Peanut Cactus Echinopsis chamaecereus
Old Man Cactus Cephalocereus senilis
Blue Flame Cactus Pilosocereus azureus
Organ Pipe Cactus Stenocereus thurberi
Candelabra Cactus Myrtillocactus cochal

1. Thanksgiving Cactus

The Thanksgiving Cactus is a breathtaking plant with toothed leaves and terrific pink flowers that effortlessly grab attention!

An Image of thanksgiving cactus

  • Scientific name: Schlumbergera truncata
  • Native to: Brazil
  • Family: Cactaceae
  • Genus: Schlumbergera
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Soil pH: 6.0 to 7.0
  • Hardiness: USDA Zone 10 to 12

The Thanksgiving Cactus is an astounding plant with stunning fuchsia flowers, which sometimes also have a yellow, white or red tint. It is a common outdoor cactus that is known for its easy-going nature. It is also known as crab cactus and has proven itself with its popularity among gardeners.

Expect the plant to produce flowers every winter and see the leaves flourish when you meet its needs. It is a drought-resistant plant that despises overwatering, so don’t be too generous with water. Instead, let the soil dry before you replenish the plant. The beautiful plant is a pleasure to have in your garden.

Don’t worry about getting the thanksgiving cactus. I recommend you get it from this excellent seller:

Thanksgiving Cactus 2 Inch Pot

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2. Prickly Pear Cactus

The Prickly Pear Cactus is one of the most popular cactus species with distinctive pads, detachable spines and attractive flowers!

An Image of prickly pear cactus

  • Scientific name: Opuntia ficus-indica
  • Native to: Mexico
  • Family: Cactaceae
  • Genus: Opuntia
  • Plant Type: Perennial Shrub
  • Soil pH: 6.5 to 7.5
  • Hardiness: USDA Zone 8 to 11

The Prickly Pear Cactus is one of the most common yet charming cactus that amazes onlookers with its appearance. Since it is commercially available, you can easily get this plant. When it blooms, this plant produces lovely flowers in gradients of white, yellow and red.

Don’t be impatient with this plant as it won’t honour you with flowers in the first year. However, it will be generous when it matures a bit. Unlike other plants, you can expect it to bloom in early Summer. The plant grows up to 3 to 5 meters in height, depending on how you take care of it.

You will thank me later if you purchase this plant here; I got a healthy cutting of the plant and loved raising it!

4 Spineless Prickly Pear Cactus Cuttings

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3. Mexican Fence Post Cactus

The Mexican Fencepost Cactus is one of the neatest cactus out there, which is columnar and flaunts delicate pink flowers!

An Image of mexican fencepost cactus

  • Scientific name: Pachycereus marginatus or Lophocereus marginatus
  • Native to: Mexico
  • Family: Cactaceae
  • Genus: Lophocereus
  • Plant Type: Perennial columnar Cactus
  • Soil pH: 6.1 to 7.8
  • Hardiness: USDA Zones 9b to 11b

The Mexican Fencepost Cactus has a handsome appearance with multiple lengthy stems and adorable pink flowers. If you treat this plant well, it can reach up to a height of twenty feet or more, making it a perfect choice for your garden. The succulent got its name because it was used in Mexico to build a living fence.

Expect to see flowers in Spring if all is well with the plant’s health. In general, it is uncomplicated like other cacti and will never make you suffer meaninglessly. Instead, it will only delight you with its unique yet eye-catching looks. A perfect choice to enhance any garden’s look!

4. Beavertail Cactus

The Beavertail Cactus is a bushy cactus with pads that resemble a beavertail; the best thing about it is its wholesome pink flowers!

An Image of beavertail cactus

  • Scientific name: Opuntia basilaris
  • Native to: Northwest Mexico
  • Family: Cactaceae
  • Genus: Opuntia
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Soil pH: 6.1 to 7.8
  • Hardiness: USDA Zone 8a to 10b

‘The Beavertail Cactus is a divine cactus species that can bewitch you with its gorgeous pinkish magenta to reddish magenta flowers. The pads of the cactus resemble a beaver’s tail which explains the common name. If you treat the succulent with love and respect, it can reach up to a height of about 1.5 feet.

When you raise the plant, you will be able to see its fleshy flattened pads and spineless stems. Don’t mess around with the barbed bristles, which can punish you easily. If you’re looking for an outdoor cactus that can stun others in a matter of seconds, choose this cactus confidently!

5. Orchid Cactus

The orchid cactus has broad stems with flat edges and, like other cacti, usually produces a pink flower!

An Image of orchid cactus

  • Scientific name: Disocactus ackermannii
  • Native to: South Mexico
  • Family: Cactaceae
  • Genus: Disocactus
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Soil pH: 5.6 to 7.5
  • Hardiness: USDA Zone 10b to 11

The Orchid Cactus is a common outdoor cactus variety that gardeners treasure. It tends to have pink flowers but can also produce white and red flowers that stand out in the crowd. This tropical cactus demands little attention and care making it a perfect choice for beginners.

The best part of having this orchid cactus is the fact that it has such delicate bulby flowers. I can’t resist the sight of its flowers and believe you will be enchanted by it too. The orchid cactus is named so because of its outstanding and fabulous blooms.

You can get the stunning red orchid plant here:

Red Orchid Cactus 4 Inch Pot

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6. Peanut Cactus

The Peanut Cactus is referred to as a peanut cast because it has several stems shaped like long peanuts in a cluster formation!

An Image of peanut cactus

  • Scientific name: Echinopsis chamaecereus
  • Native to: Argentina
  • Family: Cactaceae
  • Genus: Echinopsis
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Soil pH: 6.1 to 7.8
  • Hardiness: UDSA Zones 10a to 11b

The Peanut Cactus is a different succulent with multiple protruding stems which resemble long peanuts. It is a fast-growing plant that can easily make its mark in a garden with its reddish-orange flowers. It is a popular choice among gardeners since it has a reputation for producing plentiful blooms that are alluring to see.

Like other cacti, it requires minimal watering and will prosper with a bit of neglect. Don’t be tempted to overwater this beauty, and you’ll be good to go. One benefit of this cactus is that it doesn’t require any grooming making it a brilliant low-maintenance choice for your garden.

To get the peanut cactus, you can trust this fantastic seller:

Peanut Cactus 2 Inch Pot

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7. Old Man Cactus

The Old Man Cactus is a slow-growing yet stunning cactus with long white hair that resembles an old man's beard!

An Image of old man cactus

  • Scientific name: Cephalocereus senilis
  • Native to:
  • Family: Cactaceae
  • Genus: C. senilis
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Soil pH: 6.5 to 7.5
  • Hardiness: USDA Zones 9 to 11 The Old Man Cactus is an exciting cactus that has a personality of its own. It is laced with white hair, which has earned it the reputation of being called ‘old man’. Simply put, this is a hairy cactus that can add a crazy touch to your outdoor garden.

If you’re impatient for flowers, don’t get this cactus. It takes a long time to produce any blooms, but it is worth the wait. After a good seven years, the plant will reward you with beautiful tubular bright pink flowers. If you believe you are determined and love a challenge, get this beauty for your garden and raise a healthy old man cactus plant!

Here is a perfect specimen you can buy and raise:

Peruvian Old Man Cactus 3 Inch Pot

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8. Blue Flame Cactus

The Blue Flame Cactus, known for its unique colour, is a columnar cactus with multiple stems and gorgeous white flowers!

An Image of blue torch cactus

  • Scientific name: Pilosocereus azureus
  • Native to: Brazil
  • Family: Cactaceae
  • Genus: Pilosocereus
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Soil pH: 6.1 to 7.3
  • Hardiness: USDA Zones 9b to 11b

The Blue Flame Cactus is also known as the Blue Torch Cactus, which celebrates a bluish-green gradient that makes it extremely charming. It can grow up to 10 to 30 feet tall and add a bit of magic to any garden effortlessly. The distinctive colour is a complete attention grabber, which is why you should consider getting it!

The columnar cactus can easily hold the spotlight in your garden. There is just something majestic about its look. Apart from the pads, the white flowers that it flaunts will not fail to make you smile. That is the thing about this cactus. It is just a beauty that one can’t help adore!

9. Organ Pipe Cactus

The Organ Pipe Cactus is another common columnar cactus specie which resembles the shape of multiple candelabras!

An Image of organ pipe cactus

  • Scientific name: Stenocereus thurberi
  • Native to: Mexico and U.S.
  • Family: Cactaceae
  • Genus: Stenocereus
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Soil pH: 6.1 to 7.8
  • Hardiness: USDA Zone 9b to 11

The Organ Pipe Cactus is named so because of its resemblance to an organ pipe. It has numerous narrow stems that protrude from its stem. When planted outdoors, the cactus can reach heights of about 20 feet. This plant will not respond kindly to overwatering, so refrain from being too generous. Understand that it loves aridity and would appreciate less water!

In the garden, it can reach heights of about 16 feet. The plant is laced with spines which tend to become white as the plant matures. The best practice is to keep away from the prickles as the plant can hurt you if you’re careless!

10. Candelabra Cactus

The Candelabra Cactus is a common ornamental cactus that boasts dark green to pale-green coloured stems!

An Image of candelabra cactus

  • Scientific name: Myrtillocactus cochal
  • Native to: Mexico and U.S
  • Family: Cactaceae
  • Genus: Myrtillocactus
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Soil pH: 6.1 to 7.8
  • Hardiness: USDA Zone 9b to 11

The Candelabra Cactus is a splendid cactus that will delight you with its ivory-white flowers. The plant is known for its thin narrow spines that protrude from the stem. The plant is distinctive and is admired for its dramatic appearance. It can reach up to 6 feet tall and demands attention wherever it is placed in a garden.

If you’re looking for a cactus that can add a vibe of coolness and style to your outdoor greenery, choose this one. It is a wonderful choice that will tolerate neglect and will never punish you for neglecting it. Other than that, it also produces edible fruits that are juicy and acidic. What else could you wish for in a cactus?

Conclusion

You have more than 2000 cacti species that can belong to any of the 139 genera. Depending on whether you need indoor or outdoor cactus plants, you can choose any one like the Angel Wings Cactus, Barrel Cactus and Star Cactus or even the Prickly Pear Cactus.

If you’re new to succulent care, I think you should read more about the topic. I recommend this comprehensive guide that will tell you about the best time to water succulents!

What's the Best Time of the day for you to Water Plants

Have you ever wondered which time you should water plant: People have agreed that mornings and evenings are the best times without any doubt.

Jimena Bolívar Picture

By Jimena Bolívar

Easy Succulents Founder

My name is Jimena and I'm the the founder of Easy Succulents! I'm fascinated by this wonderful plants and I want to share with the world everything I know about them!

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Jimena Bolívar Picture

Jimena Bolívar

Easy Succulents Founder

My name is Jimena and I'm the the founder of Easy Succulents! I'm fascinated by this wonderful plants and I want to share with the world everything I know about them!

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